Rebuilding Pittsburgh's Entrepreneurial Economy Part 3: The early capital gap-Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rebuilding Pittsburgh's Entrepreneurial Economy Part 3: The early capital gap

The economy was falling apart when Mark Kurtzrock launched Metis Secure Solutions into the headwinds of one of the worst recessions in the nation’s history.
 
“It was pretty tough to find resources,” said Kurtzrock, president and CEO of the Oakmont-based maker of emergency notification systems, which opened its doors in November 2008.
 
The company was fortunate to have an advantage: $300,000 in funding from a local business development agency, which bought it time to focus on product development and finding customers during a liquidity crisis that severely restricted financing for businesses throughout the United States and much of the world.
 
Metis Secure Solutions survived to raise another $2 million, mostly from a private investor group.
 
And in February of this year, the company closed on a $1.6 million venture capital deal, succeeding in the world of institutional funding that some Pittsburgh entrepreneurs find difficult to navigate, given that venture capital firms are relatively scarce in the region. “Really good ideas, I think, find a way of getting funded,” Kurtzrock said. “You just have to be deadly persistent about it.”
 
Indeed, many local start-ups have raised tens of millions of dollars in recent years, both through local professional investors and funds elsewhere. But a shift in the venture capital industry and among angel investors, or wealthy individuals, toward later-stage firms has created problems for entrepreneurs looking for an infusion of capital early in the lifecycles of their companies...Read more»

By: Daniel Lovering